Happy Thanksgiving and Holiday Season!
I am a holiday season junkie over here but boy oh boy have the holidays changed since becoming a parent!
I dream of cooler weather for the sheer purpose of seeing the leaves change, trips up north to see the snowfall, nights by the fire, and the warmth and love of connecting with my loved ones. There is something so dang special about gathering together, celebrating traditions, honoring our lives, and breaking bread together! AND I would be remiss if I didn't call out the difference in the holidays that I experience as a mother compared to my younger years!
Holidays as a mother have taken on a different meaning entirely! I find myself craving those quiet still moments of my past while simultaneously LOVING the excitement and joy of a child during the holidays! This experience is sadness and grief, chasing after something that won't be there, and simultaneously chaotically joyful in its own way. This week I have been reminded of the yin and yang of the holiday season as a mama. I found myself trying to squeeze all my old holiday traditions, expectations, and planning into a life that has, quite frankly, outgrown them. This week I found myself setting my Monday mood intentions on gratitude while becoming so flustered, overwhelmed, and irritated at the plans that seemed to fall apart at every turn. The narrative in my head turned from being committed to gratitude to pure stress and angst. And after a good 24 hours of that yuck feeling...I snapped out of it and reminded myself of what I had to be grateful for even within the things that were going "wrong".
I found myself saying I am grateful for a car, to live near a grocery market, to have moments to cook with my son, to leave a grocery market and try again later... When I set my sights to see the good, I found it. When I sat in my feelings, I felt them. When I didn't like the way I was acting, I reflected and got curious!
And guess what?? I feel like a little bit of steam came out of the holiday "pressure cooker". I am beginning to realize that the holidays will change each year and become their own new version. There is beauty in cherishing tradition but also beauty in releasing the pressure of it and creating new experiences that bring the joy that tradition used to bring.
So from here on out...until I forget and have to remind myself again 🤪...I am relating the pressure valve. Recognizing what the pressure is costing me, and choosing to move forward with the things that feel good, holidays or not and I invite you to join me! <3
Practical tips for releasing the holiday stress:
Marie Kondo your holiday traditions and to-do lists!
...ask yourself, "does this bring joy?" and if not...toss that stressor out the window!
When you get consumed by stress and overwhelm, NAME IT!
Identify what you are feeling, honor that it is a recipe of events that got you there, and don't blame your feelings on anyone. Simply observing, noticing, and naming the emotion can release some of the control it has on you.
Take a look around and start identifying the things that you are grateful for.
Change your internal dialog from the crap you are frustrated with to the things in life you are grateful for (like food to cook, an oven, the means to make a meal, heating or AC, that people are gathering together in the first place, etc.)
And lastly, BREATHE!
Deep inhale through your nose and out of your mouth with your belly soft and relaxed. Drop your shoulders. Unclench your jaw. Release your tongue from the roof of your mouth. Relax your forehead. AND BREATHE.
I have a feeling this is going to liberating!